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Marlon James, the Future of LGBTQ Media, and More LGBTQ News

Marlon James, the Future of LGBTQ Media, and More LGBTQ News

Author: Brian Gentes

February 7, 2019

Recently, in LGBTQ news…

Marlon James, whose highly anticipated new novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is out this week, was profiled by Jia Tolentino for The New Yorker. In addition to the new book, they talked about his journey to accept his sexuality and come out, at one point even undergoing an exorcism:

After a while, he stopped crying, and he ordered his demons to leave. The woman held his face in her hands and told him he was free. For several months, there were no struggles. Then he turned to the pornography again. This time, he didn’t feel guilty afterward. He didn’t feel that he needed to be redeemed by Jesus. The exorcism had worked, he realized—it had just got rid of the wrong thing.

James also penned an essay for Literary Hub, in which he reflects on his relationship with his mother and publicly coming out. “My mother has sung me ‘Happy Birthday’ every November 24 since I was one year old,” he remembers in the piece. “She even called me in Nigeria two years earlier. I had resigned myself to never getting that call again. Not out of malice or bitterness, but because our family disease of non-talk would spread even to her singing.”

After being laid off during Grindr’s restructure of Into, Trish Bendix penned a piece for BuzzFeed News examining the current state of LGBTQ media, which she says “finds itself in a state of flux,” and exploring what the future might hold:

At this point, do we really need to keep prostrating ourselves — proving that LGBT stories are not only valuable, but “safe” — to straight and cis-led corporations and advertisers who want to appear inclusive but not too inclusive? Do we want to be another business’s cool new vanity project until they get tired of us and pull the plug? And perhaps most importantly, are we getting too far away from the reason LGBT media was created in the first place?

Cover of People in Trouble by Susan SchulmanAfter Fox’s TV adaptation of Rent aired, Daniel Villarreal reports at Queerty, talk began to resurface via Twitter that Jonathan Larson “actually stole Rent’s plot from People in Trouble, a 1990 novel about AIDS in New York written by lesbian author Sarah Schulman.” Book Riot also has a list of books to read after watching Rent: Live!–Schulman’s novel made the list, along with six others.

Tarell Alvin McCraney, co-writer of Moonlight, talked about pitching his new TV series, David Makes Man, to Oprah Winfrey. Check out the video from The Hollywood Reporter here, and then head over to OWN for a first look at the new series.

In other literary TV news, Arrow in the Head’s Mike Sprague reports that there is also an adaptation of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood in the works.

Drag icon Hattie Hathaway, aka Brian Butterick, has passed away. Lady Bunny posted a moving tribute on Facebook:

Hattie ran the Pyramid Club with Sister Dimension, a crazy yet inspired East Village dump which provided a home to many a fledging drag queen. Or performance artist. Or rock band. Or play. And who could forget Tanya Ransom’s whimsical June Taylor Dancers?

Pyramid was a proving ground for so many, and there definitely would be no Lady Bunny or Wigstock without the environment which Hattie fostered.

Rest in peace, Hattie.

Hua Hsu wrote about Vince Aletti, the Manhattan dance party known as The Loft, and the first days of disco for The New Yorker.

Margot Boyer-Dry has a piece over at Vulture about the state of book cover design in the age of Instagram–the bright colors and bold type engineered to pop as tiny thumbnails on our phones. One of the best examples of this right now, according to Boyer-Dry? Marlon James’ new novel, with that “graphic white title entwining with a writhing, jewel-toned print of a shape-shifting beast.”

Stevie Walker-Webb and Jordan E. Cooper

Stevie Walker-Webb and Jordan E. Cooper (photo by EzraHurwitz via Playbill)

In theater news, Olivia Clement at Playbill reports that Jordan E. Cooper’s new playAin’t No Mo’, about “a great exodus of Black Americans out of a country plagued with injustice,” will have its world premiere in New York at the Public Theater, running from March 12 – April 21, 2019. Cooper will star, with Stevie Walker-Webb directing.

And at BroadwayBox, Charles Busch shared five “early, influential pieces of theatre he saw in NYC in the 1970s and how they had a hand in creating the iconic theatre artist he has become.” Busch is performing his new cabaret show, Native New Yorker, this month at Feinstein’s/54 Below in NYC.

At them, Emily Colucci wrote about the exhibit Punk Lust: Raw Provocation, 1971-1985, now on view at NYC’s The Museum of Sex, and interviewed its curator, Lissa Rivera, about “the inspiration behind Punk Lust, the difference between punk and disco’s engagement with sexuality, and if she found any resistance to revealing punk’s queer influences.”

If you’re in New York, check out Hilton Als’ group exhibition, God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin, which runs at David Zwirner until February 16.

And if, like us, you’re always looking for something new to listen to on your commute, check out this episode of The Guardian’s Books podcast featuring Thomas Page McBee.


Photo of Marlon James via Literary Hub


Brian Gentes photo

About: Brian Gentes

Brian Gentes is Lambda Literary's awards manager.

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